|Intel DZ77GA-70K Motherboard Overview|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Friday, 04 May 2012|
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Intel calls their new UEFI BIOS implementation Intel Visual BIOS. I unapologetically begin with an image of the BIOS splash screen, and I'm not even going to criticize the cheesy skull image. What's impressive about this is that it comes onscreen almost instantly and stays there for a timed five seconds. If you've ever frantically stabbed at a key when the BIOS splash screen flickered onto your screen, only to disappear a second later, you'll appreciate this.
Next is the summary screen you see if you hit the F2 key to drop into the BIOS. At the left are your bootable devices, and you can drag them to rearrange the boot order or double-click on one to boot from it directly. To the right of that section is the Overclocking Assistant section, and all you have to do to overclock the CPU from this screen is drag the little slider to the right until the Turbo frequency shown is what you'd like. Note that the adjustments shown below the slider-- Processor Current Limit Override, Burst Mode Power Limit, Sustained Mode power, and so on, are all automatically adjusted on the fly to appropriate values as you move the slider. With my Core i7-3770K CPU, dragging the slider all the way to the right gave me an instant, stable 4.5GHz overclock, which exceeds the quick overclock provided by the ASUS and MSI motherboards I tested.
Clicking on the Graphics or Memory tabs takes you to overclocking sections for the iGPU and DRAM, and large legible buttons below this take you to a more detailed tuning section, a list of motherboard devices, the SATA section, and an area to store settings profiles. This is easily the simplest and most functional BIOS screen I have ever seen.
If you click the subtle arrow at the far right side of the screen, you'll see this screen. The left panel shows what devices you have plugged into your slots, the middle panel shows fan speed as well as board temperatures and voltages (in real time), and the right panel shows what devices you have plugged into your SATA ports...and as you hover over the devices, the specific SATA port associated with the device is outlined with a green rectangle. I should also mention that switching among BIOS pages is always accomplished with a smooth, animated transition.
Clicking the Advanced Setup button near the top of the screen brings you to this page, a jumping-off point for delving deeper into the system. It's mainly a status page.
The Devices and Peripherals screen has three sections: USB, SATA, and Video & Other Devices. The USB screen lets you enable or disable USB 3.0 and legacy USB device support, as well as enabled or disable any of the 14 USB ports on the board.
The SATA Drives section is where you configure IDE or AHCI mode, as well as enabling or disabling the secondary SATA controller. The Video & Other Devices page contains configuration options for the iGPU (memory, mainly), which graphics device (iGPU or discrete video) will be the primary device, and other devices that can be enabled and disabled, like consumer I/R, front panel audio, and so forth.
But there's even more...